If one works in the technology industry, it’s likely one has been hearing about recent advancements in AI-based video analysis for years now. The tech has seemingly hit its stride, with new services and applications continually popping up to expand and support the ecosystem. For an example, one really has to look no further than Amazon Rekognition, which leverages Machine Learning (ML) to make it easy to identify things like objects, people, or text within videos and images.

AI developments

Outside of the technology industry, however, existing enterprises aren’t always set up to take advantage of the latest AI developments. Whether it’s because they have older hardware that doesn’t integrate with newer tech, or they just don’t have the resources or right people on staff to manage integrations; there is often a gap that makes it difficult to leverage the latest and greatest in video AI. This divide is just where start-up VXG operates.

Founded in 2016, VXG was built to be that middle layer between existing enterprises and the newest AI-based video analysis services, like Rekognition, YOLO, Azure, Google, and others. Companies can easily link their existing and new network of cameras to VXG’s platform and receive automated analysis at scale, effectively making any camera a smart camera.

AI solutions accessible and scalable

VXG was founded to be the bridge that connects the two worlds to make AI solutions accessible and scalable"

 As co-founder and CEO Yaro Lisitsyn puts it, “Having worked with both video surveillance and artificial intelligence for years, it became evident that there was a growing gap between the two industries. VXG was founded to be the bridge that connects the two worlds to make AI solutions accessible and scalable.”

The Toronto-based team’s customers currently skew towards the retail space, where cameras have long been deployed to record activity, with most enterprises slowly taking that next step to automate analysis. Selling directly to retailers, as well as business insights and video AI companies - VXG enables clients to easily extract previously inaccessible data/information from images or video feeds, such as foot traffic data and conversion statistics.

Open to all hardware and AI platforms

Being open on both the hardware and AI sides separates VXG from the other VSaaS and VMS companies. While partnering with major camera manufacturers, users receive unmatched flexibility and support, and are not locked into contracts with set cameras and AI vendors.

But really the differentiator for VXG is the scale that they’re able to operate at, in no small part thanks to AWS as an infrastructure provider. Per Lisitsyn, “There are other options on the market that enable AI for video, but they only work for maybe 100 or 1,000 cameras. At VXG we are approaching this from an enterprise and commercial standpoint, where camera networks span into the tens or hundreds of thousands. That’s why we are really happy to be working with AWS by leveraging Rekognition as an AI engine, as well as hosting our infrastructure with a provider that is built to handle that level of scale.”

Markets

Looking ahead, VXG sees a lot of opportunity to expand into new markets, such as real estate, education and building/operations management. Longer term, there will applications within the expanding world of smart cities, as local governments look to better understand how to make things run more efficiently.

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Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security
Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security

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We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorized to connect to an organization's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorized devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organizations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organizations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.

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Smart Offices: How Is Mobile ID Changing The Way We Access The Office?
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If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organizations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points, and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. 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No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient, and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realizing the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organizations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. 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